Renew Your Subscription: Rear-Wheel Drive to Be Locked Behind an Annual Paywall for the Mercedes-Benz EQS

Lately, many vehicle brands have opted to lock car features behind paywalls. The most popular among these are subscription services, which charge monthly or annual fees to upgrade certain features or allow you to use them at all. Recently, Mercedes-Benz decided to put a paywall on the Mercedes-Benz EQS, which will lock the rear-wheel drive function depending on what country you’re in. Read on to find out more about the new Mercedes-Benz EQS and what the subscription service will entail.

Upcoming Mercedes-Benz EQS model

The 2022 Mercedes-Benz EQS sedan parked on a reflective surface
The 2022 Mercedes-Benz EQS sedan | Mercedes-Benz USA, LLC

The upcoming 2022 Mercedes-Benz EQS is the first fully electric vehicle in the Mercedes-EQ line. According to Mercedes-Benz, it has a 107.8 kWh battery capacity, which will charge from 10% to 100% in a little over 11 hours using standard AC charging. Fast chargers will cut this time drastically, charging the same amount in about 31 minutes. Depending on the exact model, it will reach 329 or 516 hp, with the EQS 580 4Matic being at the top of the horsepower range.

Additionally, the Mercedes-Benz EQS comes with a variety of different features. One of these is its keyless handles and ignition, which sense the key in your possession rather than having to insert and turn it. The EQS also has some notable driver assistance features, such as lane-keeping assistance, which will remind drivers to stay in their lane after accidental lane drifting.

A rear-wheel drive subscription

One of the model’s features, however, will be locked behind a paywall. Mercedes-Benz EQS models allow drivers to turn the rear wheels up to 10 degrees, but some nations will be forced to pay for it. According to The Drive, this is particularly the case in Germany, which will cost around $576 each year or $1733 for three years. This will change the rear wheel turning amount from 4.5 degrees to the full 10. In the U.S., all cars will come with the full 10-degree capability. Meanwhile, in other countries, the rear wheels will not rotate at all without paying first.

Aside from monetary compensation, there is no practical reason the company has offered as to why it’s doing this. Since each car can reach 10 degrees without any upgrades, locking certain nations’ drivers behind a paywall is something many consider unnecessary and greedy.

Subscription services on other cars

The Mercedes Benz EQS’s subscription is far from the first time certain vehicle features have been locked behind a paywall. Tesla, for example, is locking its Full Self-Driving capability behind a subscription. Despite the name, it requires full driver supervision and has features such as automatic steering. Not only does this feature require a per-month payment of $199, but it also requires upgrading the Tesla model to the latest computer hardware. This adds up to be quite expensive for a convenience feature.

According to Autoblog, BMW has also had a hand in subscription services. In 2019, the company said it would charge $80 a year for consumers to use the Apple CarPlay feature. Eventually, BMW went back on this, however, since there was a heavy amount of backlash. The next year, they brought the subscription model back again, this time locking even more features, such as automatic high beams and heated seats.

Cadillac also has a subscription service that costs users $25 a month to use their Super Cruise driver assistance. It has a three-year free trial, and some features will remain after the subscription expires, but some features plus any new upgrades will remain locked behind the paywall.

These are just a few of the many examples of driver subscription services, which are growing increasingly common. Adding the new Mercedes Benz EQS to the mix signals that these are unfortunately unlikely to disappear anytime soon.

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